Canada’s two largest provinces say the relationship between the 13 provinces and territories could become rocky if Ottawa balks on committing to stronger emission cuts.
However, the environment ministers for Ontario and Quebec told reporters they are confident Ottawa will agree to the cuts before the global UN climate change conference comes to a close this week.
The dark side of their message was reinforced by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, in Denmark for the summit, who condemned Ottawa for the potential economic consequences of its anemic climate change fight.
Ontario and Quebec have long feared the federal Conservatives are planning to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions at the expense of the provinces and others that have taken early action in the fight against global warming in order that Alberta and Saskatchewan will have room to further develop their vast oilsands reserves.
“I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that … they want to continue to develop those (oilsands) and obviously if they are developed there may have to be larger greenhouse gas emission (cuts) elsewhere in the country in order to meet our targets,” Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen told reporters.
Gerretsen and Quebec Environment Minister Line Beauchamp will join forces this week to promote the work they’re doing and to push Ottawa to take a more ambitious stance.
torstar news service with files from the canadian press